I love you so much I'm prepared to destroy ecosystems, nay the world, for you might be a romantic thought to some, but obviously not they day after the night before when you wake up to find that you (and the world) are worse off for the things that you have done to impress.
Think about the consequences of your actions this Valentine's Day - not just of that romantic gesture, but of the wider consequences of the things that you bought.
We've got some ideas that will help you to win the heart of the most eco-conscious of lovers.
Level 1: The very least you can do here is look to go somewhere that uses only local organic products and order the locally produced organic or fairtrade wine to go with the meal.
Level 2: If you want to really impress when you order, go for the raw, vegetarian or vegan option on the menu and instead of purchasing the (overpriced, flown in from wherever whilst poisoning a load of bees) red rose bring a cut flower from your (pesticide free) garden and present it with a flourish of love (see also Flowers below).
Level 3: A partner that can cook is a pretty sexy thing in anyones books. Source all of your ingredients wisely and consciously (you're looking for organic, local or fairtrade in minimal recyclable packaging if you hadn't already guessed). Bonus points for each course that is either vegetarian/vegan or raw. Look out for processed food that contains palm oil too - why? A conversation that starts "Oh by the way darling I've killed a bit more of those pesky Orangutan's habitats by purchasing those crackers" will quickly suck all the romance out of the room.
That probably depends on how much you concerned about carbon dioxide. Does burning a candle produce more CO2 than keeping a light on? See this article we wrote for Earth Hour last year.
Level 1: The very minimum here, and we mean minimum ie the very least you can do is buy the fairtrade flowers from the supermarket. Supermarket flowers on Valentine's Day? Really? So you'll pay a little extra for these flown in from anywhere, still killing bees, probably over packaged flowers, but at least they are fairtrade so you do get some points.
Level 2: Find somewhere local that only does native pesticide free flowers. You may have to do some hunting to find one near where you live but they do exist, for example Organic Blooms near Bristol (UK) (who are a social enterprise too - bonus points).
Level 3: Pick the flowers from your own (or your parent's or a friend's pesticide free garden - with permission of course) or better still give a potted rose or whatever is your partner's favourite bloom. You can get indoor varieties if you don't have space to plant outside.
Level 1: One of the mainstream multi-national chocolate brands but one of their offerings that has a Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance logo on it (the Fairtrade logo is usually disproportionally large on the front when compared to the amount of actual fairtrade ingredients when you check out the ingredients list on the back).
Level 2: Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance chocolate with a higher percentage of Fairtrade ingredients, that is not made by an unethical brand AND make sure also that it doesn't contain palm oil or vegetable oil (vegetable oil could be anything including palm oil) AND that the packaging isn't excessively plastic. Not sure what we mean by an "unethical brand" - the Ethical Consumer's Boycott list is a good place to start.
Level 3: This is where you can become a true valentine's hero. Buy some delicious chocolate that is vegan, palm-oil-ingredient free and plastic-packaging free and where all of the packaging can either be composted or recycled. Perhaps you are wondering whether such a product exists? Well thank goodness for the likes of Seed and Bean!
Valentine's Day Card
This is perhaps the thing most people send. Maybe we should have put it at the top of the list. Nevermind you are here now.
Level 1: The eco-conscious minimum here is to buy a card that is made from FSC or otherwise recycled or sustainably certified card.
Level 2: Want some extra points? Buy the card from somewhere that will put the profits into doing good - a charity that you know your partner supports for example.
Level 3: Really want to impress? Make the card (and envelope) yourself from either FSC bought card or recycled card. Top it off with a beautiful handwritten poem.
Gifts (Soft toys, lingerie, cosmetics etc)
Bit of a big topic this and really before you go and buy more stuff you should ask yourself whether your partner really needs another cute teddie or bath bomb. By now we're pretty sure you get the idea too of what is more of a minimum eco-conscious present and what kind of thing will really send your shopping money into world saving overdrive. Here are some examples though just to get you thinking.
Level 1: A teddy bear bought from a thrift or Fairtrade store, lingerie made without the slave labour, cosmetics not tested on animals. Wrapped using FSC or otherwise sustainably certified wrapping.
Level 2: A organic teddy bear from a Fairtrade store, organic, lingerie made without the slave labour, organic cosmetics not tested on animals. Wrapped using FSC or sustainably certified wrapping from a charity you know your partner supports.
Level 3: Something you made yourself. Wrapped in wrapping you made yourself from recycled or found things. OR vegan organic clothes or vegan organic cosmetics that aren't tested on animals that also do not contain palm oil (in cosmetics palm oil is most usually listed as sodium-lauryl-sulfate, sodium-laureth-sulfate, ammonium lauryl sulphate or ammonium laureth sulphate) which means anything from the likes of LUSH (apart from these ones from LUSH that contain ammonium -laureth-sulfate and ammonium -lauryl-sulfate (the sodium-y soapy ones from LUSH are Orangutan friendly they were reformulated in 2009 to be palm oil free)).
When it comes down to it Valentine's Day is just about expressing your love. Do you really need world-destroying flowers, chocolates, ingredients and other gifts to do that? How about just spending time together doing something for the world? A beach or other litter clean up, planting a tree or making a bird box. Go on be inventive.
A final thought. Try sending a little happiness outside of your closely knit love-in this Valentine's Day. Try a few Pay it Forward type quests to help everyone feel the love bug and make the world a happier place (BE NICE, MORE LOVE LETTERS, SUSPENDED COFFEE, PAY IT FORWARD).